If you’ve ever been wanted to play around with shiny, defined, springy curls, chances are you’ve either tried—or have at least heard of—the finger-coil method. You know, the tried-and-true technique of loading your hair up with products (hi, creams and gels), then quite literally coiling each section around your finger to create…finger coils. Boom. No, it’s not exactly a quick method (depending on your length, it can take you anywhere between 1 to 3 hours), but it is pretty simple, and your coils can last for at least a week if done properly.
Still, if you’re new to the finger-coil game—whether you’ve recently gone natural, did the big chop, or are playing around with gentle, low-manipulation styles—you might need a little refresher on the specifics. And that’s where these finger-coil tutorials come in. Each of these vloggers have broken down the basics on exactly how to finger-coil your natural hair, regardless of whether you’ve got short hair, long hair, or just want ultra-defined coils in general.
Super-defined finger coils
Using a strong-hold gel (The Mane Choice Bold Buttery Gel), vlogger YoursNaturally11 starts twirling from the roots down to the ends at the nape of her neck. The key to an even application with a thicker gel? Re-wet each section of hair with water before detangling—seriously, detangle well for the best coils—and smoothing on the gel to each wet section.
FYI: If your ends are damaged, she suggests using a tighter, firmer hold when you coil, but, in her opinion, “I don’t feel that this is a great way to style your hair if you’re transitioning, because it’s going to enhance what you already have,” she notes. “So if you have straight hair, or straight ends, or even damaged hair, it’s not going to curl up by itself—finger coils come out best when your hair is as healthy as possible.”
Still, play around with the style and see how your hair reacts—you never know what combo of products and twirling tightness might make your coils pop.
Finger coils on short hair
The must-do, nonnegotiable first step to vlogger Lashelle’s tutorial? Oil. Oil, oil, and more oil. “It helps the gel to dry without that hard crunch, and it really helps keep the hair strands moisturized when it’s dried and also over the next few days,” she says. After massaging J. Antoinette Moisture Repair Elixir oil into her hair, she detangles it with a brush and, starting above her ear, smooths a dollop of Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Gel through a section before coiling it around her finger away from her face.
After fully coiling her hair (which she says took her about an hour), she diffused the coils on low heat for volume, slept on them in a bonnet, and then unraveled each coil and picked at the roots for extra height. To finish, she brushes her edges back with a dollop of Cantu Edge Stay Gel.
Finger coils on long hair
In this tutorial, vlogger TheChicNatural starts her finger coils at the nape of her neck, running a dime-size drop of Acure The Essentials Argan Oil through a two-inch section of hair before layering on a dab of Eco Styler Gel. After twirling the section around her fingers to create a single coil, she focuses on the roots, winding them tighter to keep the roots from puffing up.
To give extra reinforcement to her coils while they dry, she clips her coils down with duckbill clips, then bands them together with hair ties while she sleeps, letting her hair air-dry in a silk scarf to keep her hairline smooth. The end result? Ultra-defined, shiny coils.
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